An update from Vincent Hart, Director of Operations on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

I am writing to update you on the current situation at Westward Care and the measures we implemented many weeks ago to protect our staff and residents from the virus.
As we informed you at the start of the situation, we are constantly monitoring the appropriate guidance available from Public Health England; our regulator - the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and other industry bodies. 

I know our teams locally have been keeping residents and their families abreast of specific developments at their locations and they have been helping to facilitate different ways of keeping people in touch with loved ones and friends. I extend mmy thanks to family and friends for your patience and ongoing support at this very difficult time for all of us. 

I would also like to express once again my sincere thanks to all the wonderful staff who have continued to attend for work and provide outstanding care and support to all our residents. Their commitment and desire to continue to care for others is truly remarkable!

As you will be aware the Government have eased some of the lockdown restrictions in England with effect from Wednesday 13th May 2020. However, the guidance from Public Health England for care homes remains unchanged. 

We do not at this stage intend changing any of our current measures around visitors coming into our care facilities. We remain open for GPs, other health care professionals and essential maintenance workers who may need access to our homes. 

In line with trying to move towards a new normality we will try to be as flexible and accommodating as possible in facilitating external visits from family and friends. This means at certain sites we can open windows and doors and enable you (with appropriate distancing in place) to see and chat with your loved ones or friends.

We would ask for your cooperation in contacting the home in advance to enable staff to make the necessary arrangements for these “Hokey Cokey visits” (residents in: visitors out). We will possibly need to position furniture to create the appropriate safe distance of 2m but hope you will work with us in making this work for everyone. I would also ask that family numbers are kept to a minimum to avoid groups being too large. Further guidance on possible local arrangements can be obtained by contacting the local Managers. 

We are reviewing other procedures in and around our care facilities so that we are as prepared as possible for when we can begin to ‘unlock’. We will be working closely with the staff at all care facilities to make sure that they continue to feel safe and supported with the measures we have in place and any changes that we begin to make in order to begin a ‘new’ business as usual operation. 

Keeping our existing residents safe at this time is our priority however, we are also aware that the longer the lockdown continues many more older people may increasingly feel isolated and vulnerable – especially if they have limited support in their own home. If you are concerned about an elderly relative or friend, or work in the health and social care profession and think someone might benefit from a few weeks of 24/7 care and support on-site we can offer respite / short-term support in our self-contained Apartments. Each situation will be assessed on an individual basis so please get in touch if you would like to discuss your own, or a family member’s situation and we will do our best to help.

Thank you for your support in adapting to the challenges we have faced; it really helps us to concentrate on keeping our wonderful residents as safe as possible at this time!

We would welcome any ideas and suggestions on improvements or changes we can make to make life a little easier or better for everyone. Please contact the local Managers with any comments you may have. 
Please stay safe and take care.

Yours sincerely,
Vincent Hart, Director of Operations, Westward Care
"I love my job - I think it's important when working in care to not look at it like a job - it's my passion."
Senior Care Assistant, Southlands